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RAND appropriateness panel to determine the applicability of UK guidelines on the management of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and other strategies in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Meade, Susanna 
Summers, Charlotte 
McAuley, Daniel Francis 
Proudfoot, Alastair 


BACKGROUND: COVID-19 has become the most common cause of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) worldwide. Features of the pathophysiology and clinical presentation partially distinguish it from 'classical' ARDS. A Research and Development (RAND) analysis gauged the opinion of an expert panel about the management of ARDS with and without COVID-19 as the precipitating cause, using recent UK guidelines as a template. METHODS: An 11-person panel comprising intensive care practitioners rated the appropriateness of ARDS management options at different times during hospital admission, in the presence or absence of, or varying severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection on a scale of 1-9 (where 1-3 is inappropriate, 4-6 is uncertain and 7-9 is appropriate). A summary of the anonymised results was discussed at an online meeting moderated by an expert in RAND methodology. The modified online survey comprising 76 questions, subdivided into investigations (16), non-invasive respiratory support (18), basic intensive care unit management of ARDS (20), management of refractory hypoxaemia (8), pharmacotherapy (7) and anticoagulation (7), was completed again. RESULTS: Disagreement between experts was significant only when addressing the appropriateness of diagnostic bronchoscopy in patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Adherence to existing published guidelines for the management of ARDS for relevant evidence-based interventions was recommended. Responses of the experts to the final survey suggested that the supportive management of ARDS should be the same, regardless of a COVID-19 diagnosis. For patients with ARDS with COVID-19, the panel recommended routine treatment with corticosteroids and a lower threshold for full anticoagulation based on a high index of suspicion for venous thromboembolic disease. CONCLUSION: The expert panel found no reason to deviate from the evidence-based supportive strategies for managing ARDS outlined in recent guidelines.



ARDS, COVID-19, assisted ventilation, critical care, non invasive ventilation, viral infection, COVID-19, COVID-19 Testing, Humans, Pandemics, Research, Respiration, Artificial, Respiratory Distress Syndrome, SARS-CoV-2, United Kingdom

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MRC (MR/P502091/1�)